One of my friends attends a Catholic church in a large city (not Boston). This Church has never made political statements, never invoked God in politics, and the congregation is of the sort to listen respectfully.
Last Sunday, the priest asked for a special intention: “May God grant us a different President in November!” Cue wild applause from the congregation.
Yeah, priests aren’t supposed to advocate for political positions from the pulpit, as a condition as a requirement of remaining a 501(c)(3). But when Washington dictates to 501(c)(3)s what they can and cannot believe, and attempts to score political points off of them, those groups will speak out rather than silently endure the outrage against their core beliefs.We generally assume that Washington does not have any place in telling religious groups what they can believe, so religious groups don’t have any business talking about Washington. But a large, intrusive government changes that dynamic.
Let me also remind our election-watchers that Obama got 54% of the Catholic vote, compared to McCain’s 45%, in November of 2008. Amongst Catholics who attend church weekly, it was a dead heat at 50-49 for Obama. (I will note, however, that McCain won amongst people who attend church at least once a week, while Obama won among those who attend monthly, yearly, or not at all – but that McCain’s margin of victory amongst those who attend weekly was relatively small: 55% to 43%.) If Obama alienates people who go to church at least once a month (i.e. have some gut-level feeling that the HHS shouldn’t be mucking around in what religions can and cannot do with their health insurance), he’s lost the election.
One of the things that we worried about in 2009 was that the Administration’s various tactics – the “shovel-ready” stimulus, cramming through ObamaCare right before Christmas when no one was watching, the Cornhusker Kickback, cap-and-trade during a recession – would be forgotten by the time November 2010 rolled around. We worried that Bin Laden’s death would assure him reelection, or at least popularity. Then we worried that Obama would triangulate. Then we worried that he would, miraculously, stop being such a raging ideologue. But it’s February of 2012, a mere nine months before the election, and the Obama Administration is busy doing a Martha Coakley and flipping off Catholics.